BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
THE former financial controller of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services Stephen Jude Oto has been sentenced to three years in prison yesterday.
Mr Oto was charged with 11 counts of official corruption and he pleaded guilty to all 11 counts.
Mr Oto commited the offences when he was the FC of the said Ministry.
Principal Magistrate Fatimah Taeburi in sentencing the accused said that there is indeed a need for specific and general deterrence on the case.
She said that Oto and other like-minded offenders must appreciate that corrupt practices are not tolerated in all levels of our society in both the public service and the private sector.
Ms Taeburi said clearly Mr Oto’s official position carries high responsibilities and obligations and with such responsibilities come high expectations, public trust and confidence.
“The scenario is even more serious given that he is a public officer within the Ministry of Police. This is a government department that is supposed to support law enforcement agencies to maintain, preserve and enforce law and order in this country,” Taeburi said.
Taeburi said his actions have breached the trust and confidence that the public has placed on him as the financial controller.
“He has also brought the Ministry of Police in this country to disrepute,” Taeburi added.
Taeburi imposed the following sentences on the accused that for count 1, three years imprisonment, Count 2 three years, Count3 three years, Count 4 two years, Count 5 six months, Count 6 three years, Count 7 three years, Count 8 two years, Count 9 three years Count 10 six month and Count 11 three years.
And she ordered that the sentences for count 1 to 5 since it was committed in the same year the sentences are to be served concurrently and the total sentence is therefore three years imprisonment.
While for counts 6- 11 it was also committed in the same year and Taeburi ordered to serve concurrently but consecutively to the total sentence for counts 1 to 5.
Therefore the total sentence for the accused is six years imprisonment.
However she further orders that after considering the principle of totality, in the court’s view the total sentence of six years imprisonment is manifestly excessive in the circumstances.
“I therefore impose a sentence of three years imprisonment,” Taeburi said.
She also said that there is no need to impose any orders for recovery.
The essence of the offence of official corruption is the abuse of a public office for personal gain, Taeburi said.
“Mr Oto in this case did not steal, or misappropriate, or convert any public money for his own use, he did deliver the services to the public in consideration for the payments that he received from the Ministry. The criminality of his conducts is that he used his public office and position to his own advantage and to derive benefits for himself. That is the heart of the offence of the official corruption.
“I therefore do not see any need to make any orders for recovery,” Taeburi adds.